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Hyperion Records

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Death as an Avenger (1851) by Alfred Rethel (1816-1859)
Track(s) taken from CDA67401/2
Recording details: July 1998
Budapest Studios of Hungarian Radio, Hungary
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: November 1998
Total duration: 13 minutes 55 seconds

'Exemplary, and superbly recorded' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Howard's dedication is clear in all his playing here, with clear, crisp articulation vividly caught in finely balanced sound' (The Guardian)

'Hyperion's production, as always, is superb. For the Lisztian, this is indispensable' (Fanfare, USA)

Hexaméron – Morceau de concert 'Grandes Variations de bravoure sur la marche des Puritains de Bellini', S365a
circa 1839; score prepared from manuscript sources by Leslie Howard; movements 6, 8, 9, 11, 12 orchestrated by Leslie Howard

Ritornello  [0'23]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Bellini’s Suoni la tromba from I Puritani provided the basis for the famous Hexaméron variations, a work essentially prepared by Liszt after he had collated the contributions of five other composers each commissioned to write a variation for a collection to raise money for the poor at a Paris concert of 1837 organized by the Princess Belgiojoso. The work was not completed in time, but Liszt eventually produced a work of much originality—despite the ‘foreign’ contributions—using a theme of his own, heard at the outset, in conjunction with fragments of Bellini’s theme in all of the sections outside the actual variations, and referring to the several variations in turn in the finale. He published the piece with indications for the participation of the orchestra in all the sections under his personal control: the introduction and theme, the ritornello, the interludes and the finale. We know that Liszt performed the work with orchestra, but the only authentic score—unpublished, and full of copyist’s misinterpretations—contains only part of the work: the introduction, theme, variation 1, variation 2, variation 4 (over which the copyist has tried to write the solo part of variation 3, but has given up at the point where it no longer fits, after which the solo part is entirely absent from the score), the first nineteen bars of variation 3 which then leaps to the parallel passage at bar 76 of the finale—designated in the tracking as ‘Finale (part 2)’—continuing to the end.

It seems unlikely that this score was the basis for any performance that Liszt gave, but, lacking any other contemporary orchestral source material, it must serve us for all the music it contains. In accordance with Liszt’s published indications but employing the partial score the work has been prepared for this recording and for publication in the following wise: the extant orchestral score has been followed even where it differs from the published piano version, the solo part being adapted to agree with it (bars 14 and 37 are not in the original version, and there are many discrepancies over rhythm, especially in the matter of double-dotted notes), and the orchestration has been completed where necessary, taking Liszt’s published indications as a basis. The completion of the orchestration of variation 3 was supplied by repeating the analogous bars; the piano part was adapted or eliminated in places where it doubled the orchestra, also following Liszt’s published instructions where they are available. Mirroring the slight orchestral accompaniment of the Herz variation, some accompaniment was provided for Czerny’s variation; clearly, Chopin’s variation—balancing the unaccompanied Thalberg variation—required no accompaniment at all.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998

Other albums featuring this work
'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
MP3 £160.00FLAC £160.00ALAC £160.00Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
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